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Belize Bureau of Standards holds coconut sensitization workshop

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A sensitization session was held today in Dangriga Town in respect to the Regional Coconut Development Project. The workshop was facilitated by the Belize Bureau of Standards, BBS, and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, CARDI. The workshop focuses on standards as explained by the Consumer Protection Liaison Officer, Rodolfo Gutierrez of the BBS.

 

Rodolfo Gutierrez – Consumer Protection Liaison Officer, Belize Bureau of Standards

“These are simply sensitization sessions going on at this time. What happened is that there is a spark of interest within the coconut industry in the country so much because of local production going on and a possible interest to start to even plan to export within the region so the clear cut idea is to basically inform the producers about the regional coconut development project through CARDI which is the Caribbean Agriculture and Research and Development Institute and at the same time incorporate the use of standards to basically allow the producers to be acquainted with what exists in the region and what can become adopted. The advantage of implementing standards of course is for quality reasons, the more standards you implement in any manufacturing process the more you become in a more competitive you set yourself at a more advantageous level within the market.”

Gutierrez emphasized that these sessions are only to sensitize the local producers to the regional standards that exist for coconut. He went on to explain what the next step would be

 

Rodolfo Gutierrez – Consumer Protection Liaison Officer, Belize Bureau of Standards

“The regional standards will be shared with them and if there is an interest to go ahead and on a national basis what will happen is that we will have to set a date, a proposal will have to come in to us at the Bureau of Standards from the producers and they will contribute to the standardization process over the 24 month period process. So in other words it’s not just you wanting to set standards today and tomorrow we have the standards out. Remember the standardization process has  a lot of tests, one of the major test is consultation and so you produce the document and vet it and release it for comments from the general public, from the manufacture, producers, from everybody and once we get those feedbacks from them then we make adjustments to the relevant documents and from then carry it out to the entire process to the end and get it approved through the Standards Advisory Council.”

Gutierrez explained that there is a growing demand for coconut products in our country as well as demands for it on the foreign market and so it is vitally important to establish a national standard. The next session will be held on the 28 in Central Farm in the Cayo District. A session will also be held in Orange Walk on October 11.

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